The residents help form the close-knit feel of our communities here at Otterbein SeniorLife. Each has a different story, unique purpose, and special place in our communities. We hope you enjoy getting to know some of the residents who call Otterbein home in our “Meet the Residents” blog series.
Meet Otterbein SeniorLife resident Larry M., who moved here not long after his wife passed away. He promised her he’d continue to live a vibrant life, and Otterbein has helped him remain active in many ways.
Meet Otterbein SeniorLife Resident Larry M.
Q: Can you briefly describe your life before moving to Otterbein?
I grew up in southwestern Pennsylvania and married my high school sweetheart. I attended Ohio University and graduated with a master’s degree.
I knew I wanted to work at a college, so I applied to many places but found myself at Denison University as a Registrar and occasionally did some teaching. My wife was an elementary school music teacher.
We have always loved the Granville area. We were unable to have children but wanted to have many children in our lives, so we welcomed students from the school and University in our home over the years and enjoyed having meals together very much.
In fact, we have some students who became like daughters to us and we continue to have a great relationship with them today.
My wife passed away in 2016, and I moved to Otterbein in 2017 with the promise that I would continue to live a vibrant life after her death.
I wanted to remain active in the community, and moving here helped me to do so, especially with the recent loss of my wife.
I am now involved in three boards in the Granville community and many committees at Otterbein, including one that has brought a classical music series to the community.
Q: How did you decide on Otterbein?
As I considered what I would do after my wife passed, I wanted to be at a place where I could age in place and not have to impose on anyone. It seemed logical to go to a CCRC or Continuing Care Retirement Community.
We were so involved in the community at Granville and Denison University that I practically had a built-in support group here, and this is where I was comfortable.
Q: What set it apart from other communities?
I love being in a college community. Otterbein residents get to go to Denison University to participate in things at the college and they come to us.
We can go to lectures, performances, and events. In addition, they will bring all of that to Otterbein. There are also unique people who live on campus — we have a previous astronaut and someone who did research on vaccines — we have a fascinating group of people.
We dine and volunteer together, and can interact with people who come from different backgrounds,and that is so interesting. We are a resident-driven community, where residents get very involved in the activities.
Q: Where are you living within the community?
I live in an independent living patio home, with 1,750 sq. ft of living space. I have two bedrooms and a den. I use one of my bedrooms as a studio for my weaving. I enjoy my large kitchen as I still love to cook and host dinner parties in my home.
Q: How are you involved in the community both on and off the Otterbein campus?
I am very active but will tell you about a few things I have enjoyed and continue to enjoy.
I lead tours of Otterbein and Denison University and host dinners in my free time. I enjoy weaving and speaking to groups about weaving, including doing demonstrations.
I’m on several committees and am active with the Presbyterian church.
Prior to COVID, I volunteered for A Call To College, which is a program for selected students who want to prepare for education following high school. The program helps students find the right colleges and introduces the students to different degrees and opportunities. I work with second graders who eventually feed into this program.
I helped create a program called Meet and Putt, where you can meet different residents while playing a six-hole putting green here at Otterbein. You get to be with a new group each week.
We also invited the staff to participate with us. There are obstacles on the course, and we award prizes and host a celebration dinner at the end of the summer.
We also have bocce ball events all summer that I participate in with many people. We have 19 teams that play each week. It is fun and everyone enjoys being together.
We have a pool table inside and arrange people to play each other in the winter. This keeps us busy when it’s colder.
I chair the entertainment committee, which involves bringing in people to do talks, lectures, and entertainment. I also update the bulletin board so everyone is aware of what there is to do and can be involved.
We get the surrounding community involved in Otterbein by inviting Denison students to perform and do narrative writing with the residents.
Lastly, I helped organize a World War II Veterans Recognition. We did not want people to forget the sacrifice of our Veterans. We wanted to celebrate them, so residents interviewed the World War II Veterans and we had Denison students film the interview and create a documentary.
Q: How would you describe your quality of life and overall well-being now that you’re a resident of Otterbein?
My life is more vibrant and enjoyable. I am much happier living at a SeniorLife Community than I would be just being on my own. It gives me an opportunity to be involved and continue to give to others.
I am on the wellness committee too. I lost my wife to ovarian cancer. I started talking about a walk I used to do in Columbus to Walk Against Ovarian Cancer.
As I spoke about this among other residents, I learned many people here have lost loved ones to cancer. In their honor, we now have a Walk Against Cancer here. The walk offers support and comfort to those who share similar experiences with cancer.
These are just a few examples of how my life experience is enhanced by Otterbein.
Q: Is it easy to make friends here at Otterbein?
Yes; my tendency is to be an introvert. I have tried very hard not to become a hermit or isolate myself following my wife’s passing. So, I make sure I am getting involved and staying active.
I have a lot of friends here, and I enjoy having dinner and doing activities with them. I like getting to know the residents at the community and helping people feel welcome.
Q: What advice would you give others trying to decide whether a community like Otterbein is right for them?
It is critical as we get older that we are stimulated. Interaction with people is important.
It is also crucial for people to come early to Otterbein so they can experience the many things we do here. It is important to come a year or two earlier than you think so you can enjoy the life and interaction.
There are many great things about Otterbein. You may be leaving a home that you shared with a loved one that you dearly love, but this is a special place.
Otterbein offers walking trails, continual learning, and many activities you can get involved in to stay active and connected.
Life will look different, and it will be an adjustment if you decide to move to a SeniorLife Community, but you must remain adventurous, courageous, and brave so you can fully enjoy this part of your life. Many aspects of Otterbein will help with the transition and make your life more fulfilled.
I know Otterbein will take care of me, and my friends and family don’t need to worry. You will find this is a community of great kindness.
One of my favorite quotes is: “Kindness is the language that the blind can see and the deaf can hear.” There are many at Otterbein that embrace that idea.
It is a really good place to be. I recommend Otterbein to anyone that asks.
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Otterbein SeniorLife offers a wide choice of housing options, including patio homes, villas, apartments, and assisted living suites — with friendly, compassionate care as you need it.
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